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HappyDude20

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
3,666
1,447
Los Angeles, Ca
Hi,

So my kid comes home and is excited that a CAD class is now being offered at their high school. I figure this is the best time for me to get them a Mac computer, but im wondering if an iPad could do the trick. After all they want an iPad and its a lot cheaper than even the cheapest current MacBook Air.

But im left wondering if CAD can be realistically done on the iPad and even if reliable apps exist for sure type of work. Surely I'll get them the keyboard and maybe even the Apple Pencil but considering I've never done CAD work before, im wondering if iPad is good enough for a class in high school..

Thanks!
 

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,881
391
SF Bay area
If you can afford it an iMac is probably better just because of the availability of software titles.

I've looked at some CAD programs for the iPad. Seems like limited choices and expensive. Maybe worth it for what they do. On the other hand, some do have student versions for little or no cost.

The one I've had my eye on is Shapr3D. You need an iPad which can use an Apple Pencil. I'm don't do this for a living so I can't give a fair review. I can see using this for generating models to help with my teaching efforts.
 

Eksoccer99

macrumors 6502
Mar 19, 2018
345
311
Would advise to see what apps he will need to have access to to do the course. You can then see if they are available on Ipad OS Or if he better served with a macbook.

Exactly this. I’ve been doing CAD/3d modeling for 15 years now, engineering. Need to find out what software they’ll be using. Not all CAD software is compatible with macOS. AutoCAD is. There are substitutes but it’s just not the same. Long way around could dual boot or virtual machine windows 10. The bigger CAD/3D software companies are mostly windows based.

As for the iPad theory. Would probably need the Pro version. I can’t imagine the education budget iPad would do the job. By then for the money your looking at a MacBook/air/pro laptop.

I was looking to go all in on an iPad Pro 12.9 256 or 512gb, Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil. Was going to be near $1800-2000. I opt for the MacBook Air 512gb 16gb mem. b/c of a full MacOS vs iPadOS and already getting a keyboard (obviously) with a laptop.
 
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muzzy996

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2018
1,061
1,000
It really depends upon what one is doing. Currently I pay the monthly subscription for AutoCad but I’m really throwing $5 away every month just for the convenience of being able to occasionally open up a topographic survey file that my subcontractors send me via email.

The reality is for my kind of workflow I can’t do squat other than that on my iPad. For me, my design workflow relies on multiple reference files each with dozens of layers. Some reference files may be in raster format. Sometimes I’m working in various coordinate systems and translating between coordinate systems. That kind of stuff I just can’t do on an iPad, there’s just no way to do it with AutoCAD for iOS and there’s no way I’m going to entertain the idea of using any other piece of software to do it because I work collaboratively with my team on projects so any conversions just for the sake of my convenience on an iPad is wasted money (time is money).

Like I said it depends - my use case is very specific, but it demonstrates that there’s limitations of what one can do. I’ll also say that in my company there’s no Macs. We do transportation infrastructure design and planning/environmental permitting. Our primary CAD platforms are AutoCAD and Microstation on PC along with MS office apps and various specialized apps to support our workflows. These software packages either don’t exist or don’t work the same on Mac and therefore Macs dont exist on our network.
 

MarkC426

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2008
3,556
1,987
UK
Surely that’s a typo ‘$5 a month’.
Autodesk don’t have anything that cheap on subscription.

If the cad app is autocad, then iPad is a no, cad 100% needs a mouse and autocad will not work on an iPad.
 

delta0

macrumors 6502
Sep 1, 2018
275
84
London
I don’t think AutoCad would be the best package to work with. Fusion 360 is great for CAD design but not setup for iPad. Works great on Mac though. If they are very young and just want to have fun with some basic CAD software then Tinker CAD is great. That does run on iPad as far as I am aware.
 

AutomaticApple

Suspended
Nov 28, 2018
7,401
3,378
Massachusetts
Hi,

So my kid comes home and is excited that a CAD class is now being offered at their high school. I figure this is the best time for me to get them a Mac computer, but im wondering if an iPad could do the trick. After all they want an iPad and its a lot cheaper than even the cheapest current MacBook Air.

But im left wondering if CAD can be realistically done on the iPad and even if reliable apps exist for sure type of work. Surely I'll get them the keyboard and maybe even the Apple Pencil but considering I've never done CAD work before, im wondering if iPad is good enough for a class in high school..

Thanks!
I think an iPad would fit them best.
 

Arquet

macrumors newbie
Sep 13, 2019
22
49
CAD, realistically, is not for the iPad or iPad Pro.

I do site visits, fabrication and drafting of layouts+shop drawings, it is near impossible to do any kind of meaningful work on the iPad Pro with CAD. AutoCAD or DWGedit or any other software, it takes too many touches to do a simple command like move, you can't put Blocks in, Layers are a mess.

The only thing useful is to open the file up and measure walls etc. Honestly, when on site, I open a PDF version of the drawing in Morpholio Trace and do my markups there.

(Hot tip: DO NOTE USE THE BUILT IN MARK UPS, LOST ALL MY MARKUPS WHEN I WENT BACK HOME, apprently its a bug! Use a proper app like Morpholio or Goodnotes/notability)

Shapr3D is great but it is very expensive. And it is only for modelling.

ArcSite is the only app i've found that is amazing at getting the initial site measurements and layout but that too, is expensive and really only useful for that initial site visit.

So bottom line is, the iPad Pro is just not for CAD, even for excel it is a bit sketchy.

That's why i'm waiting for the Surface Pro X. It looks promising, 2 USB C ports, pen, keyboard, great design, Windows OS with a custom cpu. If the Qualcomm cpu can run full blown Windows apps like office, autocad AND provide intuitive touch flow, i'm sold.

If it can operate like a tablet and switch to being a laptop when needed, omg i'm dumping the iPad Pro. But my gut tells me this is just wishful thinking.
 
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muzzy996

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2018
1,061
1,000
Surely that’s a typo ‘$5 a month’.
Autodesk don’t have anything that cheap on subscription.

If the cad app is autocad, then iPad is a no, cad 100% needs a mouse and autocad will not work on an iPad.

Nope not a typo. $49 per year or $4.99 per month. And I agree, if I’m going to do any actual work in AutoCAD I need a keyboard and mouse.
 

muzzy996

macrumors 65816
Feb 16, 2018
1,061
1,000
This is not autodesk autocad, that costs $200 per month.

We are talking about using CAD on an iPad not a full-blown Mac or Windows version which you are referring to for $200/mo.


The ultimate option listed is $15 and gives extra cloud storage and larger file support but doesn’t necessarily change features significantly.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,230
325
Wait for the software requirements, but be prepared to buy a full-on laptop. There are many significant differences between using a full version of CAD and a cut down version made for mobile devices. As many other people have said, it's *possible* to do CAD on an iPad, but it's best to use a laptop/desktop when learning, especially when there is a 3rd party (instructor) involved.
 

The Samurai

macrumors 68020
Dec 29, 2007
2,051
738
Glasgow
Why on earth are you going to send your kid and potentially jeopardise his course by giving him a platform that is half baked?

No hate against the iPad but if it were the other way around as well, i'd go with the platform that is known for years worth of history!
 
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